How Negligence is Established in a Motorcycle Accident

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How Negligence is Established in a Motorcycle Accident

Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims, including motorcycle accident cases. It refers to the careless or reckless behavior exhibited by the at-fault party that led to the accident.

To recover damages following a motorcycle accident, the victim must typically prove that the other party was negligent. Understanding how negligence is established in a motorcycle accident can help the victim build a solid claim and recover the damages they deserve.

Understand the Four Elements of Negligence

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may know who was responsible. However, you must be able to prove that the responsible party was at fault. Specifically, you must show that they were negligent, which is to say the actions that led to the accident were unreasonably careless or reckless.

Generally, you must establish the following four elements of negligence to recover damages through a motorcycle accident claim.

Establishing Duty of Care

The first step of proving negligence for your motorcycle accident claim is establishing that the at-fault party had a duty of care.

A duty of care is the responsibility a person or entity has in relation to another person. Someone driving a car has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing an accident. Similarly, a local government responsible for road repairs has a duty to maintain safe roads or warn of known hazards.

Proving Breach of Duty of Care

Once you establish the duty of care, you must explain how the responsible party violated that duty. If the other party is operating a car, for example, you have a reasonable expectation that they will obey traffic signals because it is the law. If they fail to obey a traffic signal, whether on purpose or by mistake, they are in violation of their duty of care.

Showing Direct or Indirect Causation

The third element of negligence is causation. After you establish that the at-fault party violated their duty of care, you must show that their breach caused your accident. Causation can be direct, like a car running a red light and hitting your motorcycle. It can also be indirect, like a brake failure due to incorrect vehicle maintenance.

Proving causation can be complicated, because the evidence must show how the responsible party failed to act with reasonable care and how that lack of care led to your accident.

Quantifying Damages

The final element of a negligence claim is showing that you suffered damages in the motorcycle crash caused by the at-fault party’s breach of the duty of care. Damages are tangible and intangible losses you suffered because of the accident. They may include economic losses like medical bills and lost income. Damages may also include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

If you cannot prove damages, you may not have the basis to file a personal injury claim. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand how the elements of negligence apply to your case, and what steps you can take to support your negligence claim.

Gather Evidence to Establish Negligence in Your Motorcycle Accident

All negligence claims rely on evidence. Without adequate evidence, there is no legal basis for a claim, and you cannot recover damages. The more compelling and clear the evidence, the better your chances are of recovering fair compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

The following evidence can help you prove negligence for a motorcycle crash.

Photos and Videos

When proving negligence in a motorcycle claim, photo and video evidence are indispensable. If you are able, take photos of the accident scene and your injuries right away. Ensure your photos include street signs, skid marks, damage to all vehicles involved, and any other relevant images.

Video evidence can come from dashcams, traffic cameras, and CCTV from nearby businesses. Since security cameras and other video systems often overwrite existing material, you should try to recover the video evidence as soon as possible. If you are in the hospital because of your injuries, consider hiring an attorney right away to begin gathering evidence while it is still available.

Witness Statements

Take contact information from the people who witnessed the accident. Sometimes, responding officers will provide witness information with their crash report, as well. You do not need to obtain the witness statement immediately, but sooner is better.

When taken soon after the accident, witness statements are more accurate and may contain details you need to establish the other party’s negligence. A personal injury attorney can take witness statements while you recover from your injuries.

Expert Testimony

Testimony from experts in different specializations can support different elements of your negligence claim. Medical experts, for example, can verify how your injuries occurred and confirm their severity, thus supporting the elements of causation and negligence. Economic experts can bolster your damage claim and motorcycle and traffic experts can explain breaches of the duty of care.

Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstructionists use available evidence and specialized computer programs to create a visualization of the accident. They can support your case for breach of duty of care and causation by showing how the other party’s reckless or careless actions led to the accident.

Medical Records

Support your claim for damages due to negligence with medical records. Diagnostic reports, imaging, treatment plans, and other medical details can show the court the extent and severity of your injuries.

Financial Documentation

Financial documents, such as invoices, bills, pay stubs, and financial statements can help you prove the losses you suffered due to the other party’s negligent actions. Such evidence helps you show how the at-fault party’s negligent behavior cost you financially, so you can recover those losses.

Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Help You Establish Negligence

Understanding the basics of establishing negligence is critical for the success of your motorcycle accident claim. However, proving negligence can be a challenge when you are recovering from your injuries. Most states have a statute of limitations to file suit for damages. For instance, in Michigan, you have three years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury lawsuit, with some exceptions.

A personal injury lawyer who handles motorcycle accidents can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove negligence. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, the lawyer can begin compiling evidence before it degrades.

In addition, a motorcycle accident lawyer will have knowledge and resources to prove the elements of negligence. They may have a list of experts who can provide critical testimony to prove fault. A motorcycle accident attorney can handle all communication, legal filings, and negotiations related to your case so you can take the time you need to heal.

Speak With an Attorney to Learn More About Establishing Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident

Christensen Law’s skilled personal injury lawyers can help you understand how negligence is established in a motorcycle accident case. We have extensive experience helping motorcycle accident victims throughout Michigan pursue justice and fair compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.